LibriVox recording of The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson, by Anthony Trollope.
Read by Arnold Banner.
Billed as a satire concerning the dishonest advertising and business practices of the day, it tells the tale of an upstart clothing business doomed from the get-go to utter failure. Its senior partner (the elderly Brown, who provides the investment) is far too timid for business. His son-in-law (Jones, who runs the store) is stealing from the till, and the junior partner, Robinson (who writes advertisements for the store) is so obsessed with the idea that advertising alone will drive the business, he uses up every last penny of the capital investment in a series of increasingly ludicrous ad campaigns and publicity stunts.
Thrown into this mix are the two daughters of Brown, who are equally cold and calculating. The elder (married to Jones) is constantly trying to wring money out of the old man, and the younger, Maryanne, spends the entire novel playing off of two potential suitors, Robinson, or Brisket the butcher (one of Trollope's wonderful examples of ironic character naming. (above summary by Steve Forsyth, Texas)
Nevertheless, Trollope shows considerable sympathy for the risks faced by small businessmen (and also notes the vulnerability of writers to over-ready critics); Robinson is to publish his experiences in the Cornhill Magazine, a prominent journal for over 100 years, in which many Victorians serialized novels (including Trollope). In the final chapter there is a surprising ennoblement of Robinson, and a very positive ending (final comments by Arnold Banner)
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May 15, 2013 Subject:
Grateful For This Recording
I wish to express profound appreciation for this recording.
Permit me to explain. I am usually a sound sleeper, but recently have found it difficult to fall asleep. Knowing that I might toss and turn half the night, I added this novel to my MP3 player. The effect was pure magic! I was asleep before the first chapter had scarcely begun. Highly recommended as an amazing sleep aid without the annoying side-effects of prescription pills.
Now I cannot tell you what the story was about, but having listened to many novels by Anthony Trollope I would imagine that it concerns money difficulties. Who cares? The combination of story and presentation is all that one needs to insure a great night's sleep.